As discussed in my previous entry, Doubt, there are many reasons we don’t achieve or pursue our dreams; however, doubt is among the most harmful. Doubt kills belief in our goals and denies us the energy needed to pursue our dreams. So how do you deal with doubt?
It’s good to start with understanding why we have doubt. We are not born with it. It is the result of experiences that include failure, disappointment, hurt, neglect, or some other form of pain. Our psyche remembers these negative experiences and tries to protect us from their recurrence. The tool our psyche uses to try to warn us is doubt.
Knowing it might be deep rooted, there were four ways I considered dealing with doubt: ignoring, befriending, debunking, and detaching.
Ignoring. It is unrealistic to believe doubt is just going to go away and never come up again. In fact, ignoring doubt didn’t change anything. Doubt just lingered, refusing to be ignored, so I dismissed that idea pretty quickly.
Befriending. I explored the idea of befriending doubt, imagining her walking at my side and sharing ideas. However, I didn’t like giving credibility or power to her negativity. Paying attention to the ideas doubt wanted me to buy into meant I opened up to the possibility of them being true, which translated to taking my resources—time and energy—away from moving forward. Feeding doubt so she could grow was not the goal.
Debunking. Letting doubt her speak her mind and share her concerns with me so I could address them head on at first seemed like a good idea. I thought maybe I could build my confidence by debunking doubt’s concerns, but as soon as I’d logically dismiss one, another one would come up. Once again, doubt was sucking my precious time and energy without giving much in return.
Detaching. Appeasing doubt had to happen so she would shift into belief. What would it take to appease her? After much deliberation, I found the best way to deal with doubt was to recognize the concerns without judgement or taking them so personally. Detaching from an emotional response and looking at the concerns without judging myself allowed me to acknowledge them, which doubt demands, but not be affected by them. I could calmly and rationally decide if the concern was valid or just my psyche’s way of alerting me to a potential negative experience. I could appease doubt without letting her have the upper hand.
Doubt can lead to belief or disbelief. To achieve our goals and dreams, we need to believe in them. Dealing with doubt in a way that results in belief is necessary to reach our full potential.